Are Junior Mints gluten and dairy free?

Junior Mints are a popular candy made by Tootsie Roll Industries. Many people wonder if Junior Mints are gluten-free and dairy-free. The quick answers are:

Are Junior Mints gluten-free? Yes, Junior Mints are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).

Are Junior Mints dairy-free? No, Junior Mints contain dairy ingredients like milk and whey. They are not dairy-free.

Below we will go into more detail on the ingredients and manufacturing process of Junior Mints to understand why they are gluten-free but not dairy-free.

Details on Gluten in Junior Mints

Junior Mints do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, chocolate, milk, cocoa butter, whey, and peppermint oil. None of these ingredients contain gluten.

There is always a risk of cross-contamination with gluten during manufacturing. However, Tootsie Roll Industries takes steps to avoid this and gets their products certified gluten-free.

The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) conducts annual audits of the Tootsie Roll Industries manufacturing facilities. They review the ingredients, inspect the equipment, and test the finished Junior Mint products.

The GFCO certification gives consumers assurance that Junior Mints are gluten-free to a limit of 10 parts per million. This rigorous certification is why Junior Mints can be considered gluten-free.

Junior Mints Gluten-Free Certification

Here are some key facts about the GFCO certification for Junior Mints:

  • Tootsie Roll Industries has GFCO certification for all their candy products including Junior Mints.
  • The GFCO requires testing of ingredients and finished products.
  • GFCO field inspectors examine manufacturing facilities and procedures.
  • Certification is renewed annually to ensure compliance.
  • The GFCO symbol can be found on Junior Mint packaging.

The GFCO certification gives gluten-sensitive consumers confidence that Junior Mints will not cause a reaction. It provides third-party validation that the entire manufacturing process prevents cross-contact with gluten.

Details on Dairy in Junior Mints

While Junior Mints are gluten-free, they do contain dairy ingredients. The two main dairy components are milk and whey.

Milk is listed as the fourth ingredient on Junior Mints. Milk gives the candies a creamy texture. Whey is also clearly listed as an ingredient. Whey is a protein component of milk.

In addition, Junior Mints contain cocoa butter which is extracted from cacao beans. Although cocoa butter does not contain milk proteins, some dairy associations consider it a dairy product.

Those with dairy allergies or vegan diets should avoid Junior Mints due to the milk, whey and potential cocoa butter concerns. There are no dairy-free or vegan varieties of Junior Mints currently available.

Junior Mints Dairy Ingredients

Here is a summary of the key dairy ingredients in Junior Mints:

Dairy Ingredient Role in Product
Milk Provides creamy texture
Whey Milk protein for structure
Cocoa Butter From cacao, may be dairy

Anyone following a dairy-free or vegan diet should avoid these ingredients and not consume Junior Mints.

Junior Mint Ingredients

Now let’s look at the complete ingredient list for Junior Mints:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Chocolate
  • Milk
  • Cocoa butter
  • Whey
  • Peppermint oil
  • Soy lecithin (emulsifier)
  • Vanillin (artificial flavor)
  • Artificial colors (blue 1, red 40)

As discussed above, the dairy-containing ingredients are milk, whey, and potentially cocoa butter. The milk and whey are clearly dairy-based.

The three main gluten-free grains are corn, rice and tapioca. Junior Mints do contain corn in the form of corn syrup, but this is gluten-free.

The other ingredients – including sugar, chocolate, peppermint oil, soy lecithin, vanillin and food colors – do not contain gluten or dairy. So Junior Mints avoid the major allergen risks other than dairy.

Junior Mints Ingredients Analysis

Here is a summary of how the Junior Mint ingredients relate to gluten and dairy:

Ingredient Gluten Risk Dairy Risk
Sugar None None
Corn Syrup None – Gluten-Free None
Chocolate Minimal Minimal
Milk None High
Cocoa Butter Minimal May be dairy
Whey None High
Peppermint Oil None None
Soy Lecithin Minimal None
Vanillin None None
Food Colors None None

This analysis shows that Junior Mints avoid major gluten risks but do contain milk and whey as significant dairy ingredients.

Are Other Tootsie Products Gluten-Free?

Many consumers wonder about other Tootsie Roll Industries candy products and if they are also gluten-free. Here is a quick summary:

  • Tootsie Rolls – Gluten-free
  • Tootsie Pops – Gluten-free
  • Charms Blow Pops – Gluten-free
  • Dots – Gluten-free
  • Crows – Gluten-free
  • Charleston Chews – Gluten-free

All major Tootsie Roll Industries candy products are certified gluten-free by the GFCO. This includes their most popular products like Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops.

Consumers who enjoy Junior Mints can feel comfortable purchasing other Tootsie brand candies if avoiding gluten. However, most Tootsie candies do contain dairy, so they are not dairy-free.

Are There Dairy-Free Junior Mints?

Currently, there are no dairy-free or vegan versions of Junior Mints sold by Tootsie Roll Industries. The classic Junior Mints contain milk and whey as key ingredients.

However, there are some dairy-free candy options that are similar to Junior Mints:

  • Enjoy Life Ricemints – dairy-free and vegan
  • YumEarth Peppermint Patties – dairy-free
  • GoMaxGo Foods Peppermint Patties – dairy-free and vegan
  • Amanda’s Own Peppermint Patties – dairy-free and vegan

These dairy-free peppermint candies mimic the creamy mint flavor of Junior Mints. They swap the milk ingredients for plant-based alternatives like rice milk, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.

Those seeking a dairy-free Junior Mint-like candy have several options. But Junior Mints themselves currently contain dairy. Hopefully Tootsie Roll will consider dairy-free Junior Mints in the future as plant-based demand increases.

Dairy-Free Junior Mint Alternatives

Brand Ingredients Certifications
Enjoy Life Rice malt, tapioca syrup, rice milk Dairy-free, Vegan
YumEarth Evaporated cane sugar, cocoa butter Dairy-free
GoMaxGo Foods Cocoa butter, coconut oil Dairy-free, Vegan
Amanda’s Own Evaporated cane juice, cocoa butter Dairy-free, Vegan

Dairy-free consumers have several chocolate mint candy options to choose from using alternative milk ingredients.


In summary:

  • Junior Mints are certified gluten-free by the GFCO and do not contain any gluten-based ingredients.
  • However, Junior Mints do contain milk and whey and are not dairy-free.
  • Tootsie Roll Industries has many candies that are certified gluten-free including Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Dots, and Charms Blow Pops.
  • There are no dairy-free Junior Mint options currently made by Tootsie Roll Industries.
  • Dairy-free consumers can enjoy other brands of chocolate mint candies that use alternate dairy-free ingredients.

So in summary, Junior Mints can be enjoyed as a gluten-free candy option but they do contain dairy. Satisfy your mint chocolate craving while avoiding the gluten, not the dairy.

Leave a Comment